Monday, March 31, 2008

Another One Away

Mailed off my submission to the WotF contest, with 20 minutes to spare. Whew. I didn't spend the weekend working on the edit, as I had imagined, but spent it considering the edit. When I sat down with it today, I thought I'd only go through to clean up the truly confusing parts and leave the character changes for later. Once I got going, though, I didn't stop. So it was truly the completed manuscript that I sent, the best story I could tell.

I hope I proofed it enough. I was a little rushed by the end. I wanted to give myself enough time to fiddle with printing, since there always seems to be some issue with printing. I have the added hoop to jump, too, of emailing the ms from Abba to Phoenix, since Abba and the printer aren't on speaking terms.

But the ms downloaded without issue, and the printing ran like a dream. Amazing!

I didn't mess up the envelope, either, like I did last time (forgot to include the SASE). I did have to run out earlier for more envelopes, though. But I checked on that before I got started today, so I had plenty of time for that, rather than last minute panic.

I'm amazed how smoothly this went, considering I was down to the wire! Yay! Another submission for our tally.

Next week, I'm going to submit AFE for publication. Just have to figure out where.

And tomorrow--Script Frenzy!

I'm so not ready.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Call for unpublished writers!

In the Footsteps of Gilgamesh
(Edited by Mark S. Deniz)

1st April 2009 Gilgamesh Press will publish their first anthology, In the Footsteps of Gilgamesh. They want to help promote new writers – one of their company goals – by reserving a slot in the anthology for a story from a writer who is, as yet, unpublished in any fiction medium.

The anthology will concern itself with tales from Assyrian mythology, such as the creation story and the Epic of Gilgamesh. However, the stories in In the Footsteps of Gilgamesh will be interpretations or re-writes of these tales, and will come under the genre umbrella of speculative fiction.

This means that before you write, you are to familiarise yourself with stories from Assyrian mythology before coming up with a story that has one of the tales from old Mesopotamia as its base.

You may write, for example, a futuristic science-fiction tale, a fantasy short story which takes place on another world or a straight horror story, as long as there is clearly some reference to the story you are basing it upon within.

Your story should be between 3,000 – 5,000 words and must contain speculative fiction elements (such as those mentioned above).

Any questions for those unsure of the theme are welcome and can be directed to:

Submissions must be sent in Rich Text Format (.rtf), Double Spaced in Courier New font and the subject line should state ‘Submission: (your story title)’. Send your submissions to:

Your stories will be read by a panel of six judges and the winning entry will be chosen to be published in the anthology. The winner will also receive two copies of the book.

The deadline is 1st December 2008 and all writers will be notified as to the status of their story as soon after this date as possible.

Welcome Cheri!

Welcome Cheri as a full member of INK!

Cheri is our first new member since INK's founding. We met her during the last Nanowrimo and it was an easy choice to invite her to try out the group. Since she hasn't run away screaming, we've made her official, with her own bookcase picture and expectation of paying meeting dues (get that dollar ready, Cheri!).

I'll be posting bio info on the website as soon as Cheri gets it to me. In the meantime, check out her website, Stirling Editing. She published a newsletter every other month (Kami had an article in the last newsletter, which she first posted here on INK).

Welcome to the group, Cheri! We're expecting big things out of you. BIG!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Polyphony 1

I've decided to read the Polyphony publications in an effort to give my pitiful short story writing skills a much-needed booster.  I'm learning a lot.  

I'm a tough reader.  If there's a technical issue I'm quickly tossed out of the story as my internal editor wakes up and decides to modify while I read.  My internal editor is a very light sleeper at the moment since I'm working on polishing Masks.  The first stories in Polyphony 1, though interesting, had my internal editor pestering me as I read.  Not so with Victoria Elisabeth Garcia's brilliant "Anthropology."  I devoured this story.  I find it even more remarkable because this is Victoria's first publishing credit.  Go Victoria!  The story is in the style of our own C.S. Cole, full of teeth and luscious detail and nail-biting, and definitely on the fringe of the big three genres--SF, Fantasy, Horror.  It's all and yet none.  I'm very glad I picked up a copy of Polyphony 1 at the library now.  I plan to purchase or borrow the rest of the series over time based on my experience with this story alone.  Maybe we can start an INK library and have the Polyphony series in it, as well as all our (eventually) published works, of course.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thinking Onward

Finished Iceholm, sent it to the group for blood-letting at next week's meeting. Apparently, I'll be the only victim on the altar of critique, which makes me a little nervous. This is a new version of an old story and while I'm curious how it will read, I'm feeling protective of it and hope it will get as many pats on the back as it will stabs in the gut. Either way, however, it'll end up better for it.

Now I'm looking forward to my script-writing. I'm waffling between two opposite ideas. One is a horror, the other an adventure with a sprinkling of romance. Both have about as much plot idea going for them. Both are interesting. Both would help improve my writing by attempting in their own ways. But I can't write both. Guess I'll be spending the next week going back and forth between the two ideas until the day Script Frenzy begins. It's anyone's guess at this point which way I'll go. Yesterday, I swore it would be the adventure. Today I'm leaning toward the horror. Anyone's guess.

Laugh at me, mock me, tell me my writing's bad!

Ooo, new game to play—Word to Blog.  I’ll have to learn that one.

Just so all y’all know, I’ve decided to subject myself to a flogging.  I don’t know when the Masks opening will end up on Flogging the Quill, but it will eventually, I hope, unless there’s a chance of getting rejected.  How sucky would that be. 

I’m sorry, your opening is so bad I’m unwilling to comment on it.  At all.  Thanks for sending me your ms portion, but please don’t send anymore.

I’m addicted to reading and commenting on the 3x a week (MWF) posts, I have to admit.  How fun that I might end up being one of the victi—er—lucky writers that get showcased for torture and public humiliation!  Yay!

Friday, March 21, 2008

This is a Test

I'm trying to set up Word to post to my blogs. So far, so good. Let's see if it works here, too!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Upcoming Events

I've started a new section on the INK website for upcoming events in the area and online. I've kept it local to the SW Washington area and have listed those I know about. It's a short list at the moment, but if any INKers (or anyone reading this blog) knows of more, I'd be happy to add them.

Check it out here: Upcoming Events for April.

Script Frenzy!

I took the plunge and signed up for Script Frenzy again this year. 100 pages in 30 days, only I'll be in Texas the last week of April, so I'll be doing 100 pages in 21 days. Five pages a day, in script format. That I think I can handle after seven pages a day for Nanowrimo. Of course, come about April 10th, I might be eating those words.

And I've decided, to help myself out with plotting, that I'm going to adapt The Trunk to a screenplay. So when I get around to writing it, I have more of a plot put together than I do now.

I'm looking forward to it! It should be an interesting attempt, and whether the script works or not, it will be good to play around with the plot.

Anyone else up for the challenge? You'll find me as Carissa.Reid on the Script Frenzy site.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Another Writering Group

Call me a glutton. Today I attended the Washougal library's writers group. Carole joined me there, and we made up half the group of four. It was fun to talk with other writers and to do something a little different as a group. I was in no way tempted to steer the group towards the INK way of things, because part of my reason for going to was to try something new. Or at least different.

We talked writing for a bit, then each of us read from something we brought, if we brought something. I read from the first draft of my urban fantasy piece, "Telling It True." Everyone had helpful suggestions and comments and I came up with a few for my own piece from the reading. Carole read from "Ash" and it was well received, too, with a few more helpful comments for her to assimilate. Sean read the first chapter of a piece he wrote a few days before and it was very inspiring. I won't say anything about it here, except to say that I'm very interested to see where it goes.

We set up the meeting for next month and put together what we'd be doing. Some actual writing time and then more reading and commenting.

I liked having a more informal setting to just kick back. It was rather ORCish in a way, and it will be fun to have the writing time, too.

But even moreso, I am very much wanting to make it a weekly habit of getting out of the house at least once for a few hours of writing time. I'll have to look at each week as it comes and see where I can squirrel away the time. And in case anyone wants to join me, I'll keep you posted here.

Speaking of keeping things posted, I have only three more months of toolbox retrofitting to do, and then I'll just be keeping it current. I'm also going to start a sidebar on the INK FAQ page that lists what groups are meeting in the area for the week/month in case folks are looking for some place to join in. INK is invitation only, but there are a couple of open group, like the Washougal library, and I thought it was be fun to keep a list going for both prose and poetry and also readings that I here about in the Vancouver area. I get a lot of the emails anyway. Time to spread the news!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stop Kami, Stop!

I keep getting directed to good articles on writing and I can't seem to stop linking to them.  Here's one on the craft of short story (with thanks to James D. Macdonald to pointing it out.)  Also thanks to Uncle Jim's pointy finger, a short list directed at beginning writers that even advanced and/or published writers can benefit from.  The comments are just as fun as the list itself, although I nodded so hard at the list contents I think I sprained my neck, whereas the comments tended to meander as comments do.

Here's a new SF market, with emphasis on near-future.  So, would the moon be considered off-world?  I find it interesting that with the emphasis being so often on short and tight stories, stories under 2000 words are a hard sell to this market.  I don't think the implication is to necessarily meander, but some readers do like to linger in an environment. 

With resources like this on the web, why in the world would someone like me offer up writing advice?  Oh yeah, because I can't seem to shut up.  I think that may be a common flaw, or maybe it's an advantage, or both, of people who are writers.

Late but Done

I finally sent out a new query to an agent.  Here she is in all her glory.  Wish me luck!  Also, I've been fiddling around with (it's a secret until WotF is done with it.)  I'm hoping to get a few more comments, but if everyone is commented out I'll ship that baby off to Writers of the Future within the next couple of days.  I said it here, so now I must do it.

Can I go back to writing now?  This whole marketing thing is eating my writing time!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The synopsis as a haiku

Since we've been discussing synopses so much lately, my eyes bloinked out of my head when I was at the Absolute Write Water Cooler today.  (Yes, I know, I should be writing ...)  The post that caught my attention had a link to a Miss Snark post about synopses.  Miss Snark's post is short and snarky, as always.  The brilliant quote in the middle that I wanted to call everyone's attention to was this:

A synopsis is just a totally weird form. It's like haiku on steroids. Everything that makes you a good writer works against you for writing a good synopsis.

Read the entire post here.  There are lots of great comments that go with it.

Curse you, synopsis, you mock me with your artificial constructions and the disproportionate value that is placed upon you!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Toolbox

I've begun the linking process to retrofit all of our informative blogposts to the INK FAQ site. Click the link to the left to see what I'm doing. In the next few weeks, I'll add the older links too, and then I'll add them as they appear here. Our very own Writers Toolbox!

The Back of Characters

Since the INK meeting, I've been thinking a great deal about character backstory. And I've finally realized what's been missing in my own character conceptualization.

Most of the 'how to write a novel' books on the market include handy lists for conceptualizing a character's backstory. Carole has the epitome of character concept worksheets, and while many writers find this sort of things useful, I've always balked at it. Yes, I, the lover of All Things List, balked. And now I understand why.

These lists encourage the consideration of things like dress code, political alignment, funky quirks, level of education, pet peeves, that sort of thing. But where, in all of these helpful lists, is it said how to use this information in your novel. How do you condense pages of character concept into a walking, talking character partaking of your plot? They don't, because they aren't really a character's back Story. They lack the very definition of story: Conflict, Resolution, Outcome.

For me, everything about a character's backstory should be setting up the hows and whys a character is involved in the plot of the novel. Why do they make the choices they make? (Because such and such happened when they were seven) Why do they trust the people they do? (Because so and so is like that kindly aunt who helped raise them)

Knowing all that other information is just character dressing. It isn't actually in depth character analysis. Even running a character through a personality test, like Myers-Briggs, will only get you so far. Those are too general. A good place to start, but not where to end.

The backstory needs to be the character's mold, or the long garden path full of sunshine and rain, bramble and roses, they followed to reach the events in the novel. It's a building of the character to be in the right place and in the right frame of mind (even if it all goes horribly wrong--as good plots often do) to be THE character of the story.

Realizing this lack has made me realize what I've been missing in Jamesina's character (from the Reven book Kami and I are co-writing). I have a few sketchy events from her past (her mother's death, her father and brother's falling out, her taking up her brother's place in the hospital), but I have nothing that has had a real effect and impact on the formation of her character, and so she hasn't built a strong enough character, based on past conflicts and resolutions (good and bad) that have made her who she is when the story takes place. The entire point of backstory is missing, and so her character is shallow and thinly motivated.

This week, I'm going to be writing some of those missing conflicts out. Give her a real past that has teeth and has both bitten her and bitten others around her. Who knows what she'll be like on the other side of those small stories that will never see the light of day, but I do know she'll have far more depth than the pale, tepid thing that's trying to keep up with the story now.

And that's another point about backstory. It's backstory. It may never come out in the course of the Real Story (and often it shouldn't), but it is necessary foundation. It has to be there, just like the setting and plot have to be there. Like Ragu: It'sa in there!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Trusting the Story

We had a stellar INK meeting last night.  I got home a little after one a.m. and had a long work day today, so if I'm less than coherent, blame the woodstove.

One of the many things that came up at the meeting was trusting the story.  This has been discussed everywhere and in-depth, but it bears repeating and repeating and repeating.

There's a common syndrome that bugs the bejeezus out of everyone so much that they tend to focus on it to the exclusion of other writing issues.  It's the writer who won't listen, won't take critiques, who will tell readers and editors and agents and book critics that they're wrong, and won't change a single word of their precious baby to suit anyone.  Some of them are brilliant writers and can get away with it, but most don't learn how to write well in the first place (since they're convinced that they're perfect and don't need to, you know, learn and change) and simply exist to annoy editors and agents with hate mail telling them how stupid they are and how sorry they'll be when this, the next great American novel, will sell billions of copies and become an intergalactic best seller.

There's another, more quiet syndrome that plagues writers and that's the one I want to focus on.  This quiet syndrome befalls the writer who tries to edit and adapt their story to please others.  Some will even go further and listen to the vicious voices in their heads that tell them their story is crud and only changes will make it barely serviceable.   Sometimes the changes suggested are valid, but they don't always work together.  Unfortunately it seems that the people who suffer from the first writing syndrome I mentioned above use this syndrome as an unshakeable reason to never listen to reader response.

This is where a wise author will become as Buddha.  No, not with the big belly thing and the creepy smile.  The middle road thing is overused and cheapens the concept in some ways because it's so familiar it can be dismissed.  Pair it with 'the truth lies somewhere between' and the concept of story integrity and hopefully the story won't fall victim as easily to either problem.  

Both syndromes have similar medications that help relieve the discomfort and sometimes even inspire a partial cure.  None of us are free from disease, though, not when it comes to writing.  I'm afraid we all have to live with being riddled with chronic writerly illnesses.  

Ask yourself why you're writing the story.  What is the inspiration, the thing you're trying to express?  It could revolve around a theme, a character, an event, or something as abstract as a sensation you felt when you saw a dog sharing an ice cream cone with a three year old.

Break it down to the scene.  Why this scene, this way?  Does each element serve a purpose?

Look at the characters.  If you were in their shoes, would you respond in a similar way?  Or do you know someone who responds that way?  Can you get inside the character's head and understand why?  

Are there ins and outs?  Can you see yourself or someone else getting into this situation and finding the events you pen out inevitable even if they're surprising?  On the other hand, is there a way out?  It doesn't have to be a pleasant way out, but there are always, always options.  If there aren't other options, it's not going to read in a realistic fashion.  And if there are better options that the character doesn't follow, the reader will wonder why this poor, helpless puppet is being forced to do something stupid/illogical/pointless instead of doing this other thing that fixes the problem.

Finally, is there reason?  Almighty Reason is our guide and light, and it has many colors.  Characters need reasons to do things, and they need to be strong motivational reasons if things get tough, or a real person would give up.  There should be a reason why you're describing this time and place, and no other.  There should be a reason why the readers ought to bother reading your story, and you should give them that reason.  "Because I love this idea and it won't let me go," is a start.  The first syndrome writer has no issue with this, but the quiet syndrome writer may in fact be missing this.  The quiet, insecure writer may find that their personal enjoyment (*cough* obsession) of the story is insufficient reason to write it, so they must alter it in the hopes that the changes will make it matter to others, or worse, alter it so that it will reflect a literary ideal rather than their own hearts and minds or hopes of reaching a real, flesh and blood reader.    

What's the harm in trying to adopt most or even all the changes that readers suggest?

Well, aside from the fact that readers can be wrong (no! really?) and could contradict each other (you mean people might like or hate things that other people hate or like? Dang!) making changes in line editing, working in partial conceptual revisions, altering character motivations and other such rewriting always runs the risk of inserting discontinuities and tone changes, as well as outright contradictions.  Artifacts appear in the writing from previous versions that didn't get eliminated.  This happens all the time in revisions.  It's part of the process.  But the more changes an author makes the more opportunities there are for continuity, logic and voice/style issues to arise.  Too much line editing, like overworking a painting, will turn the words to gray, lifeless mud.  Working in conceptual revisions is like overworking a collage--you'll end up with a gaudy thing that makes no sense.  Altering too many character motivations is like changing all the expressions in a family portrait--suddenly they don't look like family anymore because they aren't natural and themselves around each other.  They become artificial and disconnected.

What's a poor writer to do?

Outline writers will disagree with chronological/character-driven writers, but both styles of writer will agree that the truth will come out when you return to the heart of the story.  You can start writing from scratch--blue screen writing.  Write it like you remember it.  Anything you leave out probably wasn't that important, and new things might come in that bring the story back to life.  You can return to the outline, a homecoming of sorts.  You can never go back home again, they always say, but returning to an outline after wandering the wilderness can help ground you for a beginning-to-end rewrite.  You can Snowflake the work and see if you can find missing elements and build character motivations.  You might even find a subplot or two.  You can edit one aspect at a time from beginning to end.  It's tiring, but worth it to go through and look only at one character's part in the story, then start again from the beginning looking at passive voice, and then again looking at setting and sensory detail, and so on.  Lastly, you can go to the masters for advice.  Revising Fiction by David Madden.  Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.  Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee.  Read writers who write better than you.  Rudyard Kipling.  Mark Twain.  Miyamoto Musashi.  William Shakespeare.  Ernest Hemmingway.  Homer.  James Herriot.  Khalil Gibran.  They've lasted and their names are known throughout the world for a reason.  Read them for pleasure, or if you can't enjoy their work, try to figure out what it is that's made them last.  Was it a message?  The flow of their words?  An amazing idea?  Characterization?  Sensory detail?  Listen to their voices.  What are they talking about?

Then think hard about what you're talking about.  If you had only one story you could tell the world before you died, what story would you choose?  Would it be a fantasy, or a story from your childhood?  Would it be long?  Or would it be short and punchy, something you could tell aloud by a campfire before wandering off into the darkness?  Do yourself a favor and tell that story when you sit down and write next time.  If you're still having trouble figuring out what it means when people say trust the story (what is it that you're trusting really if everything is so malleable?) think about the crucial images and scenes that you want to transmit and the feelings you want to inspire in the telling.  If you find a special reader or three that you trust, listen to what they have to say.  Let their impressions guide you deeper, kind of like therapy with a really good counselor, but own your story like you own your life.  The story is part of your life, even if it's fiction.  Once you've found the critical elements that must be there, they become like history, and then it's your job to make history come to life for the reader.

When you're done, if you survive, there's always the next great story waiting to be written inside you.  If you're like me, there's a whole lot of them excited and ready to be told. 

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Start Now!

A long while back I mentioned that writing a synopsis will help focus a novel.  It will do nothing but good, even if you abandon said synopsis in the course of revising the novel.  

Another good reason to write a synopsis early on in your project is that writing a synopsis is hard.  A good synopsis will take a long time to write unless you get lucky or you think in terms of synopses and can write a 'take me, take me now, take me hard!' synopsis in an hour or less, in which case I hate you and you don't need to come back here ever again.    The synopsis has to go through the same review process as any other writing you plan to submit, so waiting until you're all done with writing your work will only delay your submission.  You have to write it, get it critiqued, rewrite it, get it past your best readers, give it a final polish, and don't forget to kiss it goodbye when you send it off, or at least give it a good spank on its tight little butt on its way out.

Here's some help I found recently thanks to a link of a link of a link.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Reveal

While watching the special features for "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" yesterday one of the threads they followed was how JK Rowling (super writer complete with cape) employed a wonderful device with her characterization.  What impresses me is that she used the same device with a huge number of important characters in her books and still kept it fresh.

The device is:  No one is as they seem.

Lupine turns out to be a werewolf.  James Potter was an ass.  Sirius Black is not only a loving godfather rather than a mass murderer, it turns out that's he's part of a notoriously nasty family.  Professor Moody in book four turns out to be a disguised bad guy (and we liked him so much!)  The list is huge.  Even Voldemort isn't what he seems to be.  In fact with each book Voldy has bigger and bigger reveals that rewrite what we know or what we think we know about him.  Even Harry Potter himself goes through transformations, the biggest at the end.  My favorite is Snape, because I have this thing for anti-heroes.  Another beautiful reveal came with Draco Malfoy.  Say what you like about Rowling's flaws--with this device, she's a genius.  Bravo.

It goes to show you that just because it's a mechanical device that anyone can use, that doesn't mean it's a cheat or cheap.  None of the tools for the writing craft are cheats unless you mishandle them.  Even writing tools that many consider bad, like 'it was all just a dream' are skillfully employed in hundreds, probably thousands of stories without going wrong.  If you handle a tool in a way that's meant to bring enjoyment to the reader by deepening a world and making it unexpected and exciting, any tool, no matter how transparent, can be made to work wonders.  If, however, you take a hammer and smash on the screw head because you can't seem to tighten it down to the wood and you're too lazy to pull it back out and drill a pilot hole, you're no longer employing craft.  You're employing brute force, and I doubt anyone will want to buy your creation if you build it that way.

Lots of people employ writing devices without being consciously aware of them.  If their subconscious is particularly clever, they might stumble on a reveal while writing the first draft and dance a little happy writer joy dance as their novel opens up to new possibilities.  For the rest of us, writing devices are things we employ consciously, and usually on a second draft while we're going through and trying to figure out how to fix up the drab little house we've built.  So if you've taken a look at this and have decided that you want to employ a character reveal or plot twist or an action causes the opposite of the expected effect, don't be in a big rush to start a new project.  Take a look at what's collecting dust in your drawer first.  It may be collecting dust because you haven't gotten out your tools to work on the raw material.  Bring out the shovels, grab that router, and don't forget your level.  Writing is work, and your overworked, underpaid creativity can't do it all with stone knives and bear skins. 

Monday, March 3, 2008

Meet Abba

I gots me a new laptop! Yup, you read right! Me! A laptop!


We spent about an hour and a half going through them at Best Buy with lots of help from two awesome sales associates. The one he found for us and that TC jumped on is an HP Pavilion TK-57. And before any of you say anything about our choice other than "Good call" or "Yay," I'll have you all know I tried to call everyone I knew with a laptop for recommendations (that means Carole and Steve, Kami, and my Mom, who just got a new one with help from computer whiz Curt), and absolutely no one was home (or near their phones). So I trusted to Fate, and Zack and Olympia and TC (and hey, how can you go wrong with a sales associate named Olympia?).

I'm very excited to get to know my new laptop. I'm calling him Abba, as in the bishop title, not the band. Though I kinda like the band. Maybe both are appropriate.

I have a huge learning curve, though, with Vista and the new Word program. And I asked about issues with the new Word program, remembering that Steve had major problems, so I feel somewhat girded for battle. I'll be playing with it today. No, I'm not currently using the laptop to write this--we pick it up today from the store, as I used their coolly dubbed Geek Squad to optimize it for me.

Whee! Laptop! I'm so excited!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dreams, Dreams, Dreams

I haven't been writing much lately (more about that in my blog), and so I seem to have caught Kami's condition of Much Dreaming When Not Writing. I have some very interesting ones in the past two weeks. Like the one where I went to Melissa Etheridge on advice about toddler beds. Or when Dad came to see me and give me a rather cryptic warning about watching out for my little brother (and yeah, Dad, you do look good). Or when I found my former manager from the university bookstore marching with my old high school band during a parade as assistant band director (I have no explanation for that one).

They have been fun (if odd) dreams. But my favorites have been the two that have given my story ideas. Two short stories, one less complex than the other and more fully formed, but still. I'm dreaming in short stories now. I guess some of Carole is rubbing off on my too. I never saw myself as a short story writer, but I'm glad I've given myself room to become one.